Amaro Expected to Move Fast, Target Bourn – Phillies Nation

Amaro Expected to Move Fast, Target Bourn

Could Bourn be back? (

Nestled away inconspicuously in an article about baseball’s general mangers’ thoughts on instant replay, ESPN’s Keith Law slipped in a hint as to where the Phillies stand in relationship to finding an everyday center fielder. Law notes that rival executives and agents believe the Phillies will move fast and aggressively target Michael Bourn. Bourn is a Scott Boras client and one of the largest drawbacks of pursuing a Boras client is the length of time needed to wait before making a move. Knowing that the Phillies may want to move aggressively and quickly, Law notes that rival executives and agents believe that while Bourn is their primary target, they are accelerating their homework related to B.J. Upton as well in the event that Bourn is not available, too pricey, or will not sign right away.

This year’s centerfield crop is among the deepest ever. In addition to Bourn and Upton, the Phillies have been linked to Melky Cabrera, who according to Joel Sherman has narrowed his teams down to six, a list that does not include the Mets or Yankees but presumably includes the Phillies, Torii Hunter, as reported by Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times, and two guys who are probably good enough to fake it in center: Nick Swisher and Josh Hamilton.

Thoughts: In addition to the folks listed about, Shane Victorino is still available, albeit linked to just about everyone but the Phillies, as well as low-first and second-tier options like Angel Pagan and Nate McClouth. Just about any of the available players would be an instant upgrade over what the Phils currently have in center. I would target Upton if I had to choose; his right-handed power and speed would be great in the number two spot in the line-up perfectly as a long-term solution.

Don’t sleep on Hunter as a short-term solution, though. Hunter had an All-Star caliber season last year that was overshadowed by an even better season by his younger CF counterpart. Hunter could be an impact player in left or right, as he hit .313/.365/.451 with 16 HRs and 9 steals in 10 attempts in 140 games. It is also worth noting that Hunter had his first elite defensive year since 2003, saving approximately 10.4 runs for the Angels. A Hunter/Upton dual-signing would have an instant impact and make the Phillies instantly better.

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  1. Ken Bland

    November 12, 2012 at 11:08 am

    I’m gonna put this in mark my words terms. Not because I know anything, but because I’m steadfastly of the opinion that the Phils will not pursue Michael Bourn to the extent they sign him. Certainly quickly.

    You really need to see through what rumors and quotes come out of sports rumors. And while it’s not enough justification to show preference to some quotes over others just because ya feel comfortable with some, and not others. Bu tthat’s my angle for not buying into a 2nd wedding with Bourn. When Charlie Manuel says, “Jimmy Rollins is a better leadoff hitter than Michael Bourn, ,” it tells me something. Add to that the comparable depth at OF V other positions in this free agent market, and Bourn is good, of course, but not THAT special, particularly as a high strikeout, very leg dependent player Just because Law reported that other GMs expect Amaro to pursue Bourn, and ealy, how many of the GMs expected Pujols and Fielder to land as they did.

    Additionally, Ruben clearly has earned a rep of striking early and doggedly for guys he wants. Did it with Raul, did it with Papelbon, was relentless in pursuit of Doc and Cliff as well as Roy Oswalt. Past results don’t assure future behavior patterns.

    So personally, I don’t think Bourn’s signing with the Phils, at least not as the signing that gets the dominoes going. I’m about due for a new t shirt that says “Contrarian Indicator” anyway if he does. But I don’t see a need to readjust the budget to plan on buying one.

  2. EricL

    November 12, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Please no.

    If Amaro signs any of the FAs who were given qualifying offers (Bourn, Upton, Hamilton) he’ll have to part with the Phillies 16th overall pick in addition to the money up front.

    When you consider that, and you consider the risks involved with all three of those players, it seems the most pragmatic move is to go after one of the lower tier options who weren’t offered a QO like Victorion, Pagan, Cabrera or Hunter. [The last two aren’t really true CFs, but can play there if needed]

  3. George

    November 12, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    I also don’t like the idea of losing that number sixteen draft pick. Low picks are part of the reason the Phils have so few internal options for any position.

    Unfortunately, an option like Hunter is no longer a real center fielder, but also is getting rather old. They’ll have to outbid the Giants for Pagan, and Cabrera carries a lot of baggage and will probably only sign short term to rebuild his value. Like it or not, that draft pick may have to be sacrificed if the Phils want more than one or two years in the position.

  4. Lefty

    November 12, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    I’d be careful about Torii Hunter. Yes he had an outstanding season last year. But he did it in this lineup.
    2- Hunter
    3 -Pujols

    I know there are some that don’t believe in “where a guy hits in a lineup” having an effect on their numbers, and I know some don’t believe in “protection”. But I can’t be convinced that batting between those two didn’t get him better pitches to hit last year. Look at his 2011 numbers in his age 35 season, to me that’s more like what you’ll get from him in his age 37season. Those numbers are still respectably good, just not the old AS, GG Hunter of years past.

    • Lefty

      November 12, 2012 at 12:22 pm

      Oops, forgot to address the “elite defensive season” that you mentioned Ian. If it was his first, maybe it’s because he was in a corner not CF. Maybe it’s because the guy next to him could cover so much ground.

      • Phillies fan from Germany

        November 12, 2012 at 12:31 pm

        Yes, you always have to be very careful with data from defensive metrics. From what I know, one year of defensive data is as meaningful as only one third of a year of offensive data. So you have “small sample size” issues with his elite defensive year in 2012. I would not expect great defensive value from Hunter in 2013, especially given his age.

    • rc

      November 12, 2012 at 2:20 pm

      You have to consider hitting numbers in baseball are down and even with lesser numbers in 2011, Hunter had 23 hrs, 82 rbis. Like every other option, it’s not an easy call. Signing Hunter might be similar to what they did with Raul. Aging player still can be a good contributor but do we really want an older player for 3 years if that’s what Hunter will get? Can you get him on a 2 year deal?

      Hunter wouldn’t cost us a pick either.

      • Lefty

        November 12, 2012 at 3:36 pm

        Like I said, those numbers are still respectably good. Just don’t want people thinking that batting in this lineup gives him the same advantages he had last season. I drafted the guy on my fantasy team this year, I like him.

        I would hope they offer him no more than a one year deal, with a performance club option for the next year, take it or leave it. I hope they’ve learned about the perils of three year deals to aging vets. He’ll probably get a better deal somewhere else I think. Looks like the Rangers and Tigers are showing interest.

      • schmenkman

        November 12, 2012 at 4:24 pm

        Lefty, I agree that at his age, he likely has only one direction to go. About the lineup around him, if he got better pitches to hit, it would show up in the stats, and it appears that it did:

        – pitches in the strike zone: he saw slightly more pitches in the zone than he usually does (from ~47.5% in 2011, to 48.4% in 2012)

        – fastballs seen: he saw somewhat more fastballs than usual (from ~59.0% in 2007-11, to 61.1% in 2012)

        – changeups: from ~10.8% in 2007-11 to 7.9% in 2012

  5. phil

    November 12, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Bourn is a smoke screen to what raj is really doing. Furthermore, he is obligated to enter the mix to drive up the price for the nationals who he is expected to sign with. Make them open their large wallets and over spend because everyone knows that is where he is going. An outfield of Harper bourn and Werth is scary especially because it can allow them to move Morse to first and not allocate funds to laroche which can let them go target even more pitching. The nationals are a ridiculous team as is so signing bourn makes them even more scary

  6. Chuck A.

    November 12, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    In my opinion this would be a mistake. No. No. and……NO. I’d rather see BJ Upton and then after that someone like Vic or Pagan.

  7. rc

    November 12, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Hopefully they pass on Upton, keep the pick. He’s a low average, high strikeout hitter and the price is way too steep. Victorino strikes out much less and would come on a much shorter term deal most likely. We don’t need a swing for the fences player with a high strikeout rate making 14 million a year for 5-6 years and forfeiting a pick for a player who isn’t elite with other options isn’t a good move with this team.

  8. Ian Riccaboni

    November 12, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Just broke on MLB Trade Rumors – Tigers aggressively pursuing Hunter and offering him a 2 year deal. He’s apparently looking for a 2 year deal from an AL club.

    • Lefty

      November 12, 2012 at 3:43 pm

      And to update MLBTR, the Phillies are now “Interested” in Josh Hamilton and Cody Ross.

  9. George

    November 12, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Everyone says there are a lot of good centerfielders available, but it seems that each and everyone of them has issues of some sort, be it age, loss of draft pick, steroid use, high strikeouts, price, or injury histories. I wouldn’t blame Amaro one bit if he has to settle for a second rate guy., because if one added together all the fans’ comments, there isn’t one guy listed who’s worth a fart in a windstorm. No matter who he gets for center this year, Amaro will be crucified.

    And then there’s third base.

    • Lefty

      November 12, 2012 at 3:42 pm

      I think the Frandsen signing, along with Galvis working at third base right now in Venezuela is a an indication that they’ve pretty much made up their minds what they will do there unless they get bowled over by something. Just a hunch.

  10. Bill R

    November 12, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Do not sign Bourne. Use our ballpark. bat Utley 2nd and UPTON 3RD breaking up the lefty,lefty combo. Utleys on base persentage is much better than most. we need more pop in the line up.

  11. "Big Ed" Delahanty

    November 13, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    Count this post as my emphatic “NO!” to pursuing Bourn. I’d prefer that we pursue Pagan or Upton, but Bourn is overrated and with his hideous agent Boras, he’ll be asking for the moon.

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